When people have trouble deciding whether they want a shiboridashi vs kyusu, there are a few different factors to consider. Both of these Japanese teaware have features that make them perfectly adapted to certain situations, and each can have their own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we’re going to break down the features of the shiboridashi vs kyusu and see how they compare.
What is a Shiboridashi and Kyusu teapot?
Here is a quick definition of each type of teaware:
Shiboridashi: A flat teapot with a small water capacity designed to produce small, concentrated cups of gyokuro and sencha tea.
Japanese Kyusu Teapot: A side handled teapot with a medium water capacity designed to produce larger cups of gyokuro, sencha, hojicha, Kamairicha, kukicha and more.
The first thing you will notice when comparing the shiboridashi vs kyusu is the size and shape. The kyusu teapot is much rounder and it will generally hold a larger volume of water. The shiboridashi is much flatter and it holds only a small amount of water.
If you are planning on brewing larger cups of green teas like sencha, hojicha and kukicha, it definitely makes sense to go for a kyusu teapot. This will allow you to use 5 grams of leaves and 150ml of water which is the standard leaf to water ratio for most types of Japanese green tea.
Smaller cups for special occasions
If you are preparing richer cups of gyokuro and kabuse sencha for special occasions, the shiboridashi is definitely the way to go. To prepare tea in this teapot, you can lay out a blanket of 5-7 grams of gyokuro leaves on the bottom of the teapot and then drizzle 50ml of water on top. This will create a super concentrated tea with a rich umami and a heavy, thick mouthfeel that coats your tongue with flavor.
When comparing the lid of the shiboridashi vs kyusu, you will notice two things. The first is that the lid is clearly much flatter on the shiboridashi, because it needs to fit into a much wider teapot. Also the lid has a built-in clay filter. This lid is optional if you want to prepare smaller leaf teas, or if you want to increase the speed of the pouring.
The kyusu lid is much smaller and more simple, with just a hole in the top to help the air exchange. This more simple design would be what most shiboridashi lids would follow, but the teapots we have selected for Nio Teas have the built in filter, making them quite unique.
As we mentioned before, there is a difference between the shiboridashi vs kyusu filter due to the fact that the shiboridashi has a built-in filter in the lid. There is also a difference when it comes to the main filter of each teapot.
With the kyusu, you will find that there is a much more complex filter in the main body of the teapot. This is either a finely woven metal mesh, or a clay filter with small holes carved out into it.
The metal mesh works great for leaves with smaller particles like fukamushi sencha. If there is a blockage at one part of the filter, the water can easily move around and pour through another part. This prevents clogging, and makes it easier to pour your fukamushi sencha teas.
The clay filter makes it a bit harder to pour tea like fukamushi sencha, but it has the added benefit of not containing metal. A lot of more seasoned tea drinkers claim that having any metal in contact with the leaves will affect its flavor. If you really want to get serious about a particular type of tea like gyokuro, you should go for the black kyusu, which has a built in clay filter.
Shiboridashi vs kyusu filters
The shiboridashi takes it a step further. Because it is only typically used to prepare larger leaf teas like gyokuro and kabuse sencha, the main filter of the shiboridashi is incredibly understated. You will just notice 3 small notches carved into the clay or the shiboridashi. These are just enough to allow water through, but not the larger tea leaves. Because of the minimalist design of this filter, you get a quick, consistent pour from your shiboridashi.
The reason you want a quicker and consistent pour is because you don’t want to over brew the tea leaves. Once the brewing time is up, you want to quickly pour the tea out so it doesn’t overinfuse. If it takes 20 seconds to pour all the water out of your teapot, you won’t be able to have as much control over the brewing time.
The handle (or lack thereof) on the shiboridashi vs kyusu is the final staggering difference between these two teapots. The kyusu teapot has this iconic side handle that has become one of its main advantages.
The side handle is made out of hollowed out clay. This dissipates the heat quickly, so you don’t burn your hand as you pour it, even if the teapot is filled with hot water. The side handle also allows for more refined movements when pouring, meaning that a simple turn of the wrist is all it takes to pour out a beautiful stream of delicious green tea.
Difference in the shiboridashi vs kyusu handle
By contrast, the shiboridashi does not have a handle. Instead, you are meant to pour it with your thumb positioned on top and 4 fingers resting at the base. This is simple enough, and you won’t burn your hands as you will likely be using very low temperature water. The shiboridashi teapot also has a small button on top that you can use as a finger rest. This makes it much easier to get the proper finger position down and pour more gracefully.
Shiboridashi vs kyusu final verdict
Comparing the shiboridashi vs kyusu is a matter of asking yourself what teas do you typical prepare, and comparing the different features of the two teapots. If you tend to prepare more gyokuro, kabusecha and sencha teas, you should go for the shiboridashi. If you prefer more of an all-in-one teapot that can brew great gyokuro and sencha, but also karigane, hojicha, genmaicha and bancha, you may prefer to get a kyusu.
Whatever you decide, I’m sure you will appreciate the fine craftsmanship of these two clay teapots. They are made from very high quality clay, and they are just waiting to be used to prepare flavorful and colorful cups of Japanese green tea!
- Hohin, translated as “treasure bottle”, is designed to brew larger cups specialty teas, but can also be used to brew more common, everyday teas. Do you know what are the differences between the Shiboridashi vs Hohin?
- The name Gaiwan essentially translates into “lidded bowl” and it is just that, a very simple piece of teaware that includes a lid, a bowl and a base. Are you able to give us all the similarities between the Shiboridashi vs Gaiwan?